EXCLUSIVE BY JAMES WILKINSON
Bruce McKenzie, InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) Chief Operating Officer for Australasia, has announced his resignation from the company, effective June 30.
Winner of the 2011 HM magazine Hotelier of the Year at the HM Awards, McKenzie was with IHG for the past eight years, three of which were at the helm for the South Pacific region.
Prior to starting in the regional role in Sydney, McKenzie spent the previous five years as the Vice President of Operations for Greater China and while the last eight years have been turbulent times for the travel industry, he said they have been positively memorable.
“The last eight years have been the most rewarding of my career to date,” he said. “We’ve come through extraordinary challenges to develop some of the industry’s strongest partnerships, continuing to build the world’s fastest-growing and most popular family of international hotel brands.
“I feel really fortunate for the opportunities, experiences and support my time with IHG has provided.
“I’ve worked with some of this industry’s most talented and inspiring people and I have nothing but respect and admiration for the team here in Australasia,” he said.
While there were a number of highlights, McKenzie said, introducing the hotel industry’s first Reconciliation Action Plan in 2010 truly stands out.
“A big personal highlight [of my time at IHG] is what we’ve achieved in the area of indigenous disadvantage,” he told HM. “There was the development of the first hotel industry Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), the launch of the RAP on Yellow Waters in Kakadu which is a truly spiritual experience, and then the levels of Indigenous employment we’ve been able to achieve in the 18 months since we started.”
Clarence Tan, IHG’s recently appointed Chief Operating Officer for Asia-Australasia, praised McKenzie for his service to the company and the hotel industry across the region.
“Bruce has made an extraordinary impact on IHG, first in Greater China and later here in Australasia,” Tan said. “The Australasian business has thrived under his leadership, through strong financial performance, enhancement of the guest experience under each of our brands, corporate responsibility and making IHG a great place to work.
“He [saw] the business through some of its most challenging times with the economic downturn, and also through some of the region’s most devastating crises, including the Brisbane floods and the Christchurch earthquake.
“Bruce has been a strong advocate of corporate responsibility. He has played a key role in introducing the Australian hotel industry’s first Reconciliation Action Plan, an effort that aims at closing the gap in opportunities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians.
“He also led a cultural shift that named IHG as one of the 2011 Aon-Hewitt Best Employers for Australia and New Zealand. In the same year, Bruce was named the Australian Hotelier of the Year, awarded by HM Magazine, a respected industry publication.
“We’re indebted to the contribution Bruce has made to IHG’s operations in this part of the world, and wish him all the best on his next challenge.”
McKenzie said after his departure he “plans to take a break with his family before determining the next stage in his career”.
Bill Edwards, IHG’s Director for Operations – New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia and New Zealand – has been appointed interim COO for IHG from June 30 until a permanent replacement is found.